Spengler warns that, no matter what President Obama might say, the War on Terror has barely begun. In a nutshell, here’s why:
Syria’s crack-up is at the top of the agenda, but the breakdown of putative nation-states extends across nearly all of the Muslim world. As Amos Harel reported in the Tablet symposium, the prime minister of Libya “has to cross checkpoints manned by five different militias, on his way home from office.” In place of regular armies controlled by dictators, Libya is crisscrossed by ethnic and sectarian militias (including the one that murdered our ambassador last September). Egypt is on the brink of economic collapse and state failure; Iraq is in the midst of a low-intensity sectarian war; Syria’s civil war already is being fought out in Lebanon; and Turkey’s border has become unstable.
Welcome to the New Middle East.
The thing to remember is that the attacks of 9/11/2001 were less about “blowback” than they were an external manifestation of two things happening on the other side of the globe. The first is the Arab world’s civilizational decay, and its resentment of Western civilization, which has supplanted it in every way but in its capacity for terror. The second is the struggle for power and dominance within the broader Islamic world. Osama bin Laden didn’t mind having American troops protecting Muslims per se — I don’t recall him making any videos demanding that NATO abandon its Bosniak protectorate. But having American troops protecting the decadent al-Saud regime was a cause bin Laden did find worth fighting for.
Which brings us to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the political aftermath of last week’s butchery in London:
Muslim leaders should ask themselves what exactly their relationship is to a political movement that encourages young men to kill and maim on religious grounds. Think of the Tsarnaev brothers and the way they justified the mayhem they caused in Boston. Ponder carefully the words last week of Michael Adebolajo, his hands splashed with blood: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day.”
My friend, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was murdered in 2004 for having been insufficiently reverent toward Islam. In the courtroom, the killer looked at Theo’s mother and said to her: “I must confess honestly that I do not empathize with you. I do not feel your pain. . . . I cannot empathize with you because you are an unbeliever.”
Keep in mind that the worst butchery of Muslims today is going on in Syria, and that it is largely Muslim-on-Mulsim violence. The Turks could put a stop to it tomorrow, if they so chose. The Saudis could flood the rebel forces with decisive amounts of cash and weapons, if they wanted. But tens of thousands of Muslims have died, and tens of thousands more will die, because other Muslims choose to do nothing.
But the West is to blame. Somehow.
In one sense, the West is to blame, because Britain and France drew the Middle East’s current borders to suit themselves instead of the locals — and the US has spent the last two decades upholding those borders. And the West to blame also, for the vile progressivism which makes it impossible for the West to defend itself morally as well as militarily. But the big problems are inherent to the Arab world specifically, and to the Islamic world more broadly.
So to sum up crudely: until they get their shit sorted out, sometimes we’re going to get splattered with it.